Sunday, November 30th, 2014
The First Sunday in Advent
A Prayer For Today
November 30th, 2014
The First Sunday of Advent
All Powerful Father,
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Christ Child. It is a time of preparation for our hearts, minds and our spirits!
Help us to focus on the meaning that Your coming offers to humankind. Help us to put the material aspects of this season in their proper place and perspective. And help us to share that the true reason for the season is the celebration of Your gift to us all…. Your only begotten Son!
We ask these things in His name….
Author of Today’s Gospel Reading
St Mark the Apostle
St. Mark was a native of the North Africa county of Libya. He was born in the city of Cyrene in Pentapolis, The western part of Libya, west of the border of Egypt. St. Mark was born of Jewish parents three years after the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His original name was John and his surname was Mark : “And when he (Peter) came to himself ….., he (Peter) came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many gathered together praying” (found in Acts 12:11-12); and “Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark” (found in Acts 15:37); “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark” (found in Acts 12:25).
St. Mark’s parents, Aristopolos (his father) and Mary (his mother), migrated to Palestine shortly after the birth of St. Mark because of the Berber attacks on their town and property. They settled in Cana of Galilee not far form Jerusalem A few years later St. Mark’s father died and Peter Simon (St. Peter), who was married to a relative of St. Mark’s father took care of St. Mark and considered him a son: “The Church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you and so does Marcus (Mark) my son”; (found in 1 Peter 5:13). Peter Simon saw to it that St. Mark got a good education. St. Mark studied law and the classics.
Church Traditions state that Mary, St. Mark’s mother, was admirer of Jesus Christ and followed Him everywhere and that St. Mark was one of the attendants who served at the feast in Cana of Galilee at which Jesus Christ turned the waster into wine: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee … and both Jesus and was called and his disciples, to the marriage .. when the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, … This was the first miracle Jesus did …”
Our Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 63: 16-19 NLT
Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, Lord, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.
Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path? Why have you given us stubborn hearts so we no longer fear you? Return and help us, for we are your servants, the tribes that are your special possession. How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place, and now our enemies have destroyed it.
Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you, as though we had never been known as your people.
Our New Testament Reading
Mark 13: 33-37 NLT
And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
We Light The Candle Of Hope….
As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world. It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope. Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire. We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose. And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth.
Hymn For Today
“Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending”
Written by Charles Wesley
December 18, 1707 – March 29, 1788
Performed by St Michael’s Singers
Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.
Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.
Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!
Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!
Answer Thine own bride and Spirit,
Hasten, Lord, the general doom!
The new Heav’n and earth t’inherit,
Take Thy pining exiles home:
All creation, all creation, all creation,
Travails! groans! and bids Thee come!
The dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers;
With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!
Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!
Thanks Be To God!
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